Juventus comings and goings bittersweet for Double winners
As Juventus move forward and begin to spend the money they've accrued after a wonderful campaign, one cannot help but feel a certain sadness. Carlos Tevez has departed while it looks likely Andrea Pirlo will follow suit. Two magicians on the ball, two world-class players who injected creativity and class into a Juventus side that steadily climbed the ladder of success, will be missed. Not only did they lead the club to great success, but they acted as leaders both on and off the pitch.
How long Paul Pogba will remain in the Bianconeri colours remains to be seen, while Arturo Vidal is receiving warranted attention, even if all rumours of his possible departure have been shut down. A player of immense physical and mental strength, he may not have played his very best last season but he remains the heartbeat of a side desperate to challenge a European final again. If he too leaves, Juventus really will be another side altogether.
Thankfully, management have acted swiftly to introduce worthy replacements including Sami Khedira, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic. Simone Zaza will also arrive, as confirmed by Sassuolo's Giorgio Squinzi, the club's owner. Still, one wonders whether his arrival this summer is such a wise decision.
Zaza is Italy's striker and a man Antonio Conte and Juventus greatly believe in. However, while he boasts a great attitude strength and power going forward, it's highly unlikely he will make too many appearances in the Bianconeri jersey considering the competition.
No offers have been made for Fernando Llorente and, as such, he could stay. Alvaro Morata, Dybala and Mandzukic are likely to dominate the starring roles while Massimiliano Allegri has great faith in Kingsley Coman, a player he feels with time can be truly special. In fact Coman is a player the Old Lady believes in so firmly that management have refused to enter into any negotiations regarding his departure, even if it be for a simple loan. He is the future and continually told as such. He was even asked to be included in the advertising campaign for Juve's new jersey among such talents as Claudio Marchisio and Pogba. So where does Zaza fit into all this and when exactly will he be given the chance to shine?
This is a player who genuinely believes in his talent and excels under pressure. With Sassuolo he scored in all the big games including against Italian giants such as Napoli, Inter, AC Milan, Roma and, of course, Juventus. According to Tuttosport, the striker and former Milan fan even had the courage to request the number 10 shirt on arrival at the club, feeling he has what it takes to take over from Tevez and Alessandro Del Piero before him. The club refused, allegedly wary of the pressure it will place on the youngster's shoulders. In truth, they are probably a little hesitant in giving such an iconic jersey to a player who may not be given too many chances to shine.
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Displaying footballing intelligence, agility and an excellent ability to uncover and exploit space, Zaza still is very raw and requires great patience in order to grow into a more refined talent. There is no doubting the skills of the player and the club's decision to invest in him, but would he not have benefitted from another year away? In truth, he possesses certain qualities not evident in the other players Juventus have in the offensive department, but one only hopes his possible bench warming role at Italy's biggest team will not lead to a possible absence from the national team.
With several strikers all vying for the role of Juve's finisher, the Bianconeri are on the hunt for the man to inject the creativity that will lead to goals. Oscar is the desired one, but as things stand, €7m separate the offer from the asking price. A player who certainly has the experience required to play for a big club, Oscar is not only the perfect assist maker but a versatile player who will prove effective when and if Juventus morph into various different formations.
Should he not arrive, then Isco is another option and perhaps an even better one considering how much he has developed in recent years, proving effective in both phases of the game. For once, it's difficult to criticise the players Juventus are tracking for each one will provide the squad with added value, the only question is, who will arrive next?
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.